Blackbelly Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus atrogaster (Smith & Radcliffe 1912)

An illustration of the holotype of the Blackbelly Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus atrogaster, from the Philippines (USNM 70249). Source: Modified from plate 35, Smith & Radcliffe in Radcliffe, 1912, drawn by V. Dandridge / USNM. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A rare almost transparent deepwater cardinalfish with a jet black stomach lining, a silvery stripe above the lateral line to the caudal-fin base, a dark band from the tip of the lower jaw across the snout to the eye, a dusky tip on the first dorsal fin and a dusky margin on the caudal fin.

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Ostorhinchus atrogaster in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Blackbelly Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus atrogaster (Smith & Radcliffe 1912)

More Info


Western Pacific - known from Western Australia and the Philippines. Records from the Northern Territory may be misidentifications.


Dorsal fin VII + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Caudal fin, principal rays 9+8, branched rays 8+7; Pectoral fin 15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Vertebrae 10+14=24; Gill rakers 22-24.


Colour in life unknown. Body presumably transparent like other closely-related species, with a dark bar from the tip of the lower jaw and snout to the eye; a silvery white band along side, tip of spinous dorsal fin black; caudal fin margin dusky; peritoneum silvery-white; stomach jet black (Fraser 2012).


Almost nothing is known of the biology of this species. Like all apogonids, males brood the developing eggs in their mouths.

Similar Species

Ostorinchus atrogaster differs from O. aphanes in dentition, and in having a silvery line running above the lateral line to the base of the caudal fin (Fraser 2012).

Species Citation

Amia atrogaster Smith & Radcliffe in Radcliffe 1912, Proc. U. S. Natl Mus. 1(1868): 439, pl 35(3). Type locality: Philippines, west coast of Luzon, Manila Bay to Lingayen Gulf, San Fernando Point Light, N. 39 degrees E., 8.4 miles.


Australian Faunal Directory

Blackbelly Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus atrogaster (Smith & Radcliffe 1912)


Fraser, T.H. 2012. A new species of deeper dwelling West Pacific cardinalfish (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) with a redescription of Ostorhinchus atrogaster Zootaxa 3492: 77–84.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Apogon atrogaster

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. 2014. Revision of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevaluation of morphological characters. Zootaxa 3846(2): 151–203 

Smith, H.M. & Radcliffe, L. in Radcliffe, L. 1912. Descriptions of fifteen new fishes of the family Cheilodipteridae, from the Philippine Islands and contiguous waters. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 41(1868): 431-446 pls 34-38

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327044

Behaviour:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:Below 60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:5.6 cm SL

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